SoonerSquad17 makes statement at The Opening

SoonerSquad17 talked the talk and walked the walk at The Opening.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE When teams were revealed for The Opening, some eyes rolled and some eyebrows were raised when Student Sports put all eight Oklahoma commits on the same team.

The group, known as SoonerSquad17, has been very vocal on social media and on the camp circuit. They’ve talked the talk throughout the process, and The Opening was going to be their opportunity to walk the walk.

With 166 recruits coming to the premier all-star event of the summer, it would have been easy for the OU commits to get lost in the shuffle. But sparked by the eight OU commits and the six Alabama pledges, Team Vapor Speed showed up and showed out in winning the 7-on-7 championship.

The unquestioned breakout star of the event among the OU commits was Santa Rancho Margarita (Calif.) Catholic tight end Grant Calcaterra. At one point ranked the No. 62 wide receiver, Calcaterra has risen up the rankings at tight end and Scout experts expect that to continue after a stellar weekend.

Quarterbacks Chris Robison (OU) and Tua Tagoavailoa (Alabama) rarely were able to connect on deep balls, but Calcaterra worked the middle of the field all weekend with his size and his hands.

When looking at the defense, all eyes were on Southlake (Texas) Carroll safety Robert Barnes. He made a couple of timely interceptions and showed his ability to cover the field all weekend.

Collinsville (Okla.) High linebacker Levi Draper, although rarely featured on the broadcast portions of the event on ESPNU, was said to show exactly why he’s ranked where he’s at in the Scout 100 and OU’s top-ranked pledge of the class.

Draper, Barnes and Calcaterra made the All-Tournament team as picked by Student Sports, who ran another successful event.

Individually, not a lot of people were talking about SoonerSquad17 heading into the event. But the group worked together as a team on both sides of the ball to earn a 5-1 record that included a perfect 3-0 on Sunday to earn the title.

Before last weekend, OU had never had more than one commit at the time of The Opening. There’s no doubt the Sooners have never had trouble ending up with signees who participated, but this was a much different atmosphere at Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

Last year at the same event OU had zero two commits and actually had two signees, Jordan Parker (UCLA) and Mark Jackson (Texas A&M), committed to other programs.

Having a top 10-ranked class this early has proven a number of dividends for the Sooners, and it showed up once again at The Opening and should materialize even more going forward.

There might be no better recruiting pitch right now than success. Only Ohio State (10) had more commits than OU at the event, but the Sooners were the ones standing tall.

A bevy of top OU targets were in Oregon and had to have noticed what the eight commits were able to accomplish.

Barnes said after the event it was the first championship the group has won together with the hope, obviously, of more to come when they all arrive in Norman.

That still remains to be seen, but based on what the group was able to show repeatedly at The Opening, there’s no reason to doubt they can’t walk the walk again going forward.

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http://www.scout.com/player/192441-chris-robison

Mesquite (Texas) Horn QB Chris Robison

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http://www.scout.com/player/201370-jalen-reagor

Waxahachie (Texas) High WR Jalen Reagor

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http://www.scout.com/player/203740-grant-calcaterra

Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Catholic TE Grant Calcaterra

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http://www.scout.com/player/198599-levi-draper

Collinsville (Okla.) High ILB Levi Draper

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http://www.scout.com/player/193418-tre-brown

Tulsa (Okla.) Union CB Tre Brown

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http://www.scout.com/player/199330-robert-barnes

Southlake (Texas) Carroll S Robert Barnes

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http://www.scout.com/player/197385-trajan-bandy

Miami Columbus DB Trajan Bandy

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http://www.scout.com/player/200754-justin-broiles

OKC John Marshall DB Justin Broiles


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